Road-tripping with the in-laws was a new experience for us, but overall a great one. While it was hard disciplining our kids with grandparents in the van and organizing accommodations, meals, and schedules to various events/activities that satisfied everyone's desires... there were many benefits to visiting Nauvoo together. One, the kids love their grandparents and vice versa, so many wonderful memories were shared. Two, Brian and I were able to attend an endowment session on our last day in Nauvoo... the highlight of our trip and something that wouldn't have been possible had they not been with us to watch the kids. Three, it probably would not have been financially possible without their help. Nauvoo is definitely one of our favorite places we have visited as a family. The kids loved it so much they want us to move there! haha
On the first day we stopped in and saw all of the properties owned by Joseph Smith. They belong to the Rlds church so you only get to go inside the Red Brick store where Emma Smith organized the relief society and much of the Book of Mormon was translated. The properties owned by the LDS church are a completely different experience because they have senior missionaries that lead free tours and offer so much wonderful insight. Marcia, Brian and Maybrie were able to sign their names in the book of descendants of Joseph Bates Noble, the builder of the Lucy Mack Smith home. All of the tours left us in awe of the genius and ingenuity of the early saints in all the talents and skills they developed to be self-sufficient. The things they were able to create and build with what little they had at the time simply amazes me!
I think one of the favorite parts for the kids and I was all of the shows we saw. We saw the BYU Ballroom dance company along with all of the shows the senior and young performing missionaries put on. So much talent and wholesome entertainment! I can't say enough good about the missionaries serving there. They were so good to learn our names and talk with us over the few days we were there. The kids absolutely loved the young performing missionaries, they had so much fun with them! When Thomas picked out a hat for his souvenir he could hardly wait to go show the (male) missionaries that they matched!
The "sugar on top" of our visit was attending the temple on our last morning. It was especially neat to go in at the end of our trip after we had spent two days visiting the sites and listening to all of the amazing stories of the saints service and sacrifice to build it. The Nauvoo temple is a truly magnificent building! I am still blown away by the detailed craftsmanship that they were able to accomplish for the time. The spirit was so strong while we were there... I will never forget it. After our session we drove to Carthage and saw the jail where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. It was also one of the most spiritual sites we visited. I can't say enough good about our trip to Nauvoo. We absolutely loved it! The church has done such a great job restoring the historic sites and making it a fabulous place for families to visit.